Holiday Story "Japanese New Year's Holidays" | Teen Ink

Holiday Story "Japanese New Year's Holidays"

January 31, 2008
By Anonymous

I love “New Year’s Holidays” because I can spend a nice time with my family in the days.
In the morning, December 31st, we clean in our house together. That is our job every year. Next, my mother and grandmother usually make a dinner for New Year’s Eve. They make my sister’s and my favorite foods. My father and grandfather set a lot of stuffs in front of a family Buddhist altar. My sister and I watch a TV show and just wait for the dinner.
In the night, my grandfather and sister and I change our clothes to kimono and we have the dinner in front of a family Buddhist altar. While eating foods, we talk about each other’s the year. After the dinner, we watch a TV show “Kouhaku-utagassen(Song Battle Ladies VS Gentlemen)”. I think almost Japanese watch it. The TV station chooses a lot of singer for it so it becomes the center of attention near the day. After the TV show, my father and I go to a nearby shrine about 12:00am. We bring some rice cakes and candles for Buddha. A lot of our neighbors go the shrine and pray to the deities that we will live safety through the coming year. When we get to our house, my grandmother and mother cook Japanese noodle “Soba”. “Soba” eaten on the day is old custom in Japan. There are some customs in the holidays. One of custom is “Joya no kane(New Year’s Eve Bell)”. It rings one hundred eight times in each temples beginning a little before midnight on the day. It is said that human have one hundred eight worldly desires in our hearts and the bell can remove them. I think it is Buddhism. So we watch on TV and hear its sounds because there is no temple near my house. However, we are satisfied.
In the morning, January 1st, we eat a special dish called “Ozoni”. It contains rice cakes in the vegetable soup. There are several ways to make “Ozoni”, depending on the region. Dishes that are prepared for the New Year’s holidays are collectively called “Osechi”. However, I think that is not important for children. Children are given New Year’s present by adults, in most cases money, as a gift from the goods to encourage children to do their best. I love the present!! I go a lot of my relative’s house so I can usually get 60,000 yen(about $500) every year. I will not able to get the present when I work.
I will experience first American New Year’s holidays in this year. And I can also experience Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and so on. I love American events and foods so I am looking forward to spending the days in here. I am going to spend the holidays with my host family. They will tell me about a lot of American customs of the days, while eating a lot of delicious foods.

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